The decision by Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to sack its head of security on claims of extorting over Sh800,000 from various dealers has been upheld.
The Court of Appeal quashed April 10, 2019 decision of the Labour Court to order for reinstatement of John Sigura to his position and payment of withheld salaries and allowances from April 2018 when he was dismissed from service.
In a judgment passed by a three-judge bench, comprising of justices Daniel Musinga, Gatembu Kairu and Sankale Ole Kantai allowed an appeal lodged by EPRA to set aside the lower court’s judgment and substituted it with an order that Mr Sigura’s dismissal was lawful.
It found that Mr Sigura was allowed to defend himself against the allegations levelled against him.
“The respondent (Sigura) believed that since the Directorate of Criminal Investigations had written to the appellant (Energy Regulatory Commission-now Epra) stating that there was no tangible evidence to sustain the allegations that had been made against him the appellant had no basis for imposing any disciplinary action against him. The trial court agreed with the respondent. We must however state that disciplinary processes are not necessarily dependent on criminal processes,” ruled the judges.
Mr Sigura was in Epra employment until 2015. He was interdicted from duty by the letter dated September 6, 2017, on account of reports received from some licensees about his conduct.
For instance, it was alleged that in December 2016 while in Kisumu County he went to the premises of Multi Energy Limited, forcefully entered, harassed one of the directors and caused police to arrest one of the directors who was wrongfully charged in court.
Further, that through an emissary he solicited for a Sh400,000 bribe in exchange of a promise to terminate the case he had initiated against the director.
Whereas he denied receiving the show cause letter or notice from his former employer, he testified in court that he had the authority to travel to Kisumu in performance of his enforcement and compliance duties.
Once in Kisumu, he said he visited the premises together with police officers and county officials and it turned out that the company operated without a valid licence issued by Epra but had a licence for its Nairobi Industrial Area business.
Accordingly, criminal charges were preferred per law.